Unlike last year when foreigners were barred from the Hajj, for the first time in history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has assured it will allow a limited number of pilgrims in 2021 despite the COVID-19 crisis.
All pilgrims in the world had been waiting for the news. The 2021 pilgrimage is scheduled for June – July.
The kingdom had restricted 2020 Hajj to Saudis and residents only, with international borders closed due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Only 1000 pilgrims were then allowed to perform the ritual.
Saudi health ministry noted only 60,000 are scheduled to perform the rituals this year. This number, the ministry said, includes local and foreign pilgrims.
The cradle of Islam confirmed the news Saturday with emphasis on pilgrims fitness and precautionary measures, including security and regulatory COVID-19 protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The ministry, in a statement, also held, among others, that “pilgrims must have had both doses of the vaccine with a Vaccination card provided by the individual countries’ Health Organisation.”
In earlier announcement by Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on May 9, Saudi hinged her decision on the country’s”keenness to enable the guests and visitors of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah”.
Usually, before the advent of coronavirus and enforced social distancing globally, about 2.5 million pilgrims across the world used to flock the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina annually for the Hajj, and Umrah or the lesser pilgrimage, year-round.